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Youth Consultation on the 2nd Annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects (2013)

Youth Consultation on the 2nd Annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects (2013)

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Published by HayZara Madagascar
In 2014, South Africa will be celebrating 20 years since the formal end of apartheid segregationist rule where only the white minority enjoyed political freedom and the rest of the black population was for the most part oppressed. The youth consultation on the 2nd annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects could therefore not have come at a more poignant time as the country starts to look back on the past 20 years to celebrate the achievements and gains made, but also to start thinking critically about ways to solve some of the most pressing challenges in the country which includes corruption, gender based violence and economic and racial inequality.

In this short position paper we report on qualitative interviews with young South Africans from across different racial groups, genders and geographical locations. In undertaking the research, we were guided by a number of questions aiming to unpack the extent to which democracy has been consolidated for everyone to enjoy in South Africa
In 2014, South Africa will be celebrating 20 years since the formal end of apartheid segregationist rule where only the white minority enjoyed political freedom and the rest of the black population was for the most part oppressed. The youth consultation on the 2nd annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects could therefore not have come at a more poignant time as the country starts to look back on the past 20 years to celebrate the achievements and gains made, but also to start thinking critically about ways to solve some of the most pressing challenges in the country which includes corruption, gender based violence and economic and racial inequality.

In this short position paper we report on qualitative interviews with young South Africans from across different racial groups, genders and geographical locations. In undertaking the research, we were guided by a number of questions aiming to unpack the extent to which democracy has been consolidated for everyone to enjoy in South Africa

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Published by: HayZara Madagascar on Dec 23, 2013
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12/23/2013

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1
SOUTH AFRICA
 
Youth Consultation on the 2
nd
 Annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects
Theme: Enhancing Constitutionalism and Rule of Law in Africa
Written by: Gcobani Qambela Bokamoso Leadership Forum qambela@gmail.com Website: http://www.bokamosoafrica.org  Contact number: +27766095973 Baxolise Siseko Dlali Executive Director: Masifunde Together (Lead Organisation) UNFPA Youth Advisor | RSA Parliament Ambassador billionaired@gmail.com (www.fluxsa.co.za/masifunde-gallery.htm)  Contact number: +27829788588
 
2
1. Introduction:
In 2014, South Africa will be celebrating 20 years since the formal end of apartheid segregationist rule where only the white minority enjoyed political freedom and the rest of the black population was for the most part oppressed. The youth consultation on the 2
nd
 annual
High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in  Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects
 could therefore not have come at a more poignant time as the country starts to look back on the past 20 years to celebrate the achievements and gains made, but also to start thinking critically about ways to solve some of the most pressing challenges in the country which includes corruption, gender based violence and economic and racial inequality. In this short position paper we report on qualitative interviews with young South Africans from across different racial groups, genders and geographical locations. In undertaking the research, we were guided by a number of questions aiming to unpack the extent to which democracy has been consolidated for everyone to enjoy in South Africa:
 How has democracy faired in South Africa over the last five years?
 Do young people take active part in the democratic processes in South Africa?
 Is the rule of law adhered to in South Africa or are the laws modified possibly to suit the government?
 Do young people believe that elections in South Africa are free and fair and that elected leaders represent the wishes of the people?
 Are there constitutional impediments that limit the participation of young South Africans in the electoral and democratic processes in South Africa? The interviews were conducted in November, 2013 in a number of different places in South Africa encapsulating rural, peri-urban and urban settings. Many of the participants interviewed were not English first language speakers, in such cases they were interviewed in their home language (e.g. isiXhosa) with their responses being translated to English. In the cases where there was no direct translation, the closest version in English is provided.
Figure 1 Young South Africans completing youth consultation questionnaire during the youth consultation in November 2013, South Africa. Pic: Baxolise Siseko Dlali
 
“[Democracy] is the treatment of
all people equally irrespective of
how they may differ” – 
 18 year old male, South Africa.
 
3
1.1. How has democracy faired in South Africa in the last five years?
Many young people spoke about democracy in terms of the South African history context of apartheid. They recognised that they now have political freedoms and lots of opportunities that many (black) people could not enjoy during apartheid. These include freedom of movement without having to produce an Identity Document (ID), so in this sense many were happy and grateful and felt they have democracy now as compared to the horrible past of South Africa. Many praised the fact that they now have access to things they would not have otherwise had 19/20 years ago such as (free) education, freedom of movement and freedom of speech which were highly restricted before. Despite these positive appraisals, some young people still expressed discontent and unhappiness with South African democracy in the past few years. A 21 year old man for instance complained that there are schools that are in a deplorable condition, clinics were still inaccessible for most people and yet there was no one accounting for why this is so. Some complained about poor service delivery and lack of accountability from leaders.
Many expressed wonder in what ‘freedom’ means when so many
people are still unhappy in South Africa as demonstrated by the many protests which take place all over the country throughout the year. One 19 year old said:
Democracy means nothing to me, some people see democracy as something important but look it is not. There is a lot of unemployment and whites still abuse blacks, and
also there’s [a lot of] poverty 
.”
 There was thus clearly a mixed reaction to this question, on the one hand with many young people recognising that there are many areas where the South  African democracy serves them well such as in the provision of services, housing and other needs, yet at the same time they recognised that the government is still not rendering services at a fast enough rate for many of these services have still not reached many people.
Figure 2: A young man completing the questionnaire during the youth consultation in South Africa, November 2013. Pic: Baxolise Siseko Dlali.
 
 
“Because we are the ch
ildren of today, we have rights that cannot be easily be abused
by anyone” – 
 23 year old young woman, South Africa.

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